This week we’ve had the Spring Equinox, the annual celestial alignment between the Earth and the sun, which usually takes place on or around 21st March. It is accompanied by a change in the seasons from winter to spring in the Northern hemisphere.
The Spring Equinox occurs when the Earth is in the right place with respect to the sun. At this point in the Earth’s roughly 365-day journey, both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive almost the same amount of daylight (12 hours), meaning there are almost equal amounts of daytime and nighttime in both halves of the Earth. Hence, the word, equinox, which means “equal night” in Latin.
The Spring Equinox marks the start of longer days for the Northern Hemisphere (and shorter days for the Southern Hemisphere). It has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth with the spring festivals of Easter and Passover celebrated at this time.
It’s a perfect time to think about the balance and the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ in our own lives. The basis of this Chinese philosophy is that all life is ruled by the interplay of these 2 dynamic forces: yin is negative, yang is positive. Seemingly opposite or contrary forces (such as night and day, darkness and light, masculine and feminine), one cannot exist without the other. The whole is greater than the parts.
The table below gives some characteristics of Yin and Yang:
The yin yang symbol (see below) is a wonderful expression of the interplay between the two forces. The black colour represents the yin and the white colour represents the yang. There is a black dot that looks like an eye of the white fish. Similarly, there is a white dot as if an eye of the black fish. If you were to walk through the diameter of the circle, you would not experience pure black or pure white. There is always some black and some white. This reflects that the yin and yang are rooted in one another. You find yin in yang, and yang in yin reflecting the reality of life: there are seeds of sadness in happiness and opportunities in every risk.
The roundedness of the symbol gives the sense of continual movement and interaction of the two energies. Yin can turn into yang and yang turns into yin, causing a new state of yin-yang relationship to establish. The aim is to balance them as far as possible for without balance there is discord and disharmony in our worlds.
A challenge for us in life is to balance the yin and yang in things we do. The better we are in finding the equilibrium, the more effective we can be.
I’d like you to think about:
- The yin and yang aspects of your life. Are your mood and energy more aligned to yin or yang at this point in time?
- Where you have been focusing your time and efforts. Have you been focussed on work rather than family, fitness or self-care?
- The aspects of your life you have been neglecting. Do you need to reconsider your priorities to stay balanced?
If you have been giving to others you need to take the time to receive for yourself. There are many ways to find your way back to balance. Here is a handful of suggestions below:
- To counteract the long time spent sitting at your desk during the week, go out and enjoy a run or hike, sit outside or sign up for a fitness or yoga class
- We all need a respite from social interactions. Take time out to just ‘be’. Immerse yourself in a good book, meditate or enjoy an hour in a flotation tank
- Whenever possible, ditch your smart clothes for casual attire. Spend a day with no makeup, relaxed and free in tracksuit bottoms!
- If you’re feeling grumpy or dissatisfied, take a moment to reflect on all the good things you have in life and what you have to be grateful for
- Whenever possible, take a break from your hectic routine. Plan regular holidays or long weekends to relax and do things you enjoy
- If you find you’ve been eating unhealthily, try to balance the junk with nutrient-dense food such as healthy vegetables, a salad, or one of my go-to recipes here
The chart below may help you see where you can make choices to rebalance your diet:
|Yin Foods: “Yoga Foods”
Makes you light and happy
Can make you spacey and scattered
|Yang Foods: “Weight-lifter Foods”
Makes you grounded and focused
Can make you aggressive and forceful
|Fruits||Chicken and eggs and meat|
Whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats
Dark leafy greens
Vegetables: squash, carrots, onions, broccoli, mushrooms
Beans and legumes
So, I’d love to hear your thoughts around the areas you are going to focus on to rebalance, ready to shrug off that winter blanket and leap into spring with vitality and energy.